Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto aren’t brand spankin’ new — they’ve been teased and revealed for some time now. Interest from the major automakers, however, has been slow and considered, and as a result, the programs haven’t taken off into the mainstream just yet. That’s about to change, though, as Chevrolet has joined Hyundai in offering the programs to its buyers.
The two systems essentially function as the vehicle’s infotainment system, and it’s calibrated with the user’s iPhone or Android handset. Think of it as a full integration of one’s mobile device with the vehicle, a level beyond your usual Bluetooth tethering.
It’s actually a pretty sweet deal for automakers too. Infotainment systems have been the Achilles’s heel for manufacturers since their inception, and it’s been seemingly impossible for companies to combine user friendliness, clean design, ergonomics, and reliability into a single package. By allowing Google and Apple to handle the heavy lifting on the engineering side, automakers can simply plug the function into the existing hardware.
“For most of us, our smartphones are essential,” said Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors in a statement. “Partnering with Apple and Google to offer CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility across the widest range of models in the industry is a great example of how Chevrolet continues to democratize technology that’s important to our customers.”
GM will be offering the options on 14 Chevrolet models for the 2016 model year, bolstering Chevy’s reputation as a tech-forward, youth-oriented brand. The company has also been a leader in bringing WiFi capabilities to most of its models, including the compact Cruze and Sonic.
By carrying both options, Chevy won’t have to worry about isolating a large segment of the considerable smartphone market, which is largely made up of the two brands. Hyundai will also be carrying both systems, and is optioning them in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata sedan.
The systems will be available on all trim levels, though GM’s MyLink infotainment package must be installed. The first models to use them will only work on the seven-inch touchscreen models, Autoblog pointed out.
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